A Strong Start in a Challenging Time – Maryland Budget Advocacy 2024

Every January, Maryland’s Governor proposes a budget. A budget proposal is a statement of priorities, and child care is in there in a big way: $488 million to support the Maryland Child Care Scholarship Program (CCSP), making it Maryland’s largest ever investment in child care. This includes:

  • $218 million in Fiscal Year 2024
  • $270 million in Fiscal Year 2025

A strong start in a challenging time

This is a strong start to the budget process. It will take all of us advocating together to keep the idea of investment front-and-center. We have a long way to go:

Our state faces a projected $761 million general fund deficit. The state cannot operate on a deficit. Where will the money come from to fix this challenge and to invest forward in families and our economy?

One place it can NOT come from: child care. A cut to CCSP would pose great risks to families, children, child care providers, and the economy. We will lose more child care programs and none of us can afford that.

The Facts: Families are struggling, especially women

In our very own state, Maryland, nearly 12 percent of children younger than 5 live in families that during a recent year saw someone quit, change or refuse a job because of problems with child care (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2023). Additionally, women are  much more likely than men to experience negative employment consequences related to caregiving (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2023).

Governor Moore noted, In last week’s annual State of the State Address, a Comptroller’s report finding: as the cost of child care increases, overall female employment decreases by 5%.  Already, 160,000 women have left the workforce, due to child care issues (and transportation).

Time for details, time for action

The details of the final state budget each year are up to the Delegates and Senators in the General Assembly. Delegates and Senators will hold hearings in committees, consider testimony, and make line-by-line decisions about whether and how to invest in child care – and lots of services that help keep Maryland running!

Together with partners across the state, we are urging Maryland legislators to:

  • Protect the CCSP budget,
  • Remain committed to recent policy progress – expanded family eligibility, waived family copays and increased payment rates to child care providers, and
  • Work with the field of early care and education leaders to ensure a strong and effective system of CCSP policies and practices.

The state budget is a crucial opportunity to get things right for the work of child care and the families counting on us in Maryland. Join us in advocacy together!